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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    From what I read, the Focus is actually up 44%. People like the new face and the SYNC thing, I guess.

    I forgot to mention before, Accent is apparently also up, but I haven't seen any exact numbers.

    According to this, Fit set a new sales record for April (there have only been three Aprils in the U.S. so far, IIRC), as did Honda as a whole:

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/05-01-200- - - 8/0004804820&EDATE=

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    My experience regarding how roomy (or not) a subcompact is, directly relates to the shape of the various interior parts. Such as the shape of the door panels, if there is a console, or armrest. The shape of the floor, where the dead pedal is (if there is one) and the fore & aft positioning of the steering wheel.

    Setting aside subcompacts and just talking cars in general and the manufacturers tendencies. a few years ago I wanted to purchase a 7 series BMW as it was the last of the "angular look" prior to the hideous trunk of the upcoming new model. Having a S class MBZ I was not prepared for the experience of simply sitting in the BMW.

    I was shocked at how close to my chest the steering wheel came, even though it was telescopic and retracted as close to the dash as possible. I still had my elbows bent uncomfortably as it was so close. Conversely when sitting in my (same year) S class MBZ I could have my arms reaching straight out, if I wished to. In that car I actually had to use the telescopic feature to bring the steering wheel into a comfortable position.

    I would have never guessed in a million years that the driving position is that 7 series would be a deal breaker.

    Fast forward to the new 2008 Yaris hatchback I just bought for fun. Now there is a car that is very roomy for the driver. I'm 6'3" and also must reach for the steering wheel if I have the seat in the rear most position. I love it! Arms out, (like when I raced a formula car with a narrow cockpit) plenty of leg room, and a very surprised look on the faces of people when I approach a corner and simply turn while maintaining a fun filled 30 mph.

    Nothing like a zippy car for around town fun. No it's not like my Racy Red Mini Cooper S, but it's a lot of fun for what it is, at less that half the price.....

    Yaris "S" 2dr hatch by Toyota.... Simply Brilliant!
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    I never thought things would get this bad this quickly but once again we are hit with a gas crisis and suddenly small cars are becoming a hit with the buying public. To tell the truth I am a bit shocked. Not enough to get rid of my toys and my truck or SUV but shocked none the less. I now tend to drive the Pontiac 4 banger on a daily basis and save the Tahoe for weekends and trips. I was heading out to get a GPS for our trip to Colorado next month and I happened to be in that very same 4 banger. I will admit I was a bit distracted as I was sitting at the light when a young girl pulled up next to me in what I thought was a White Crown Vic in the turn lane to my left. After the light changed I noticed it wasn't a crown Vic but rather a New Camry. It was longer taller wider and heavier than my old Pontiac Sunbird. The day may come when I have to replace the little Pontiac, it only has 34,000 origional miles on it now so that may be quite a while, but I doubt if I would buy a new sub compact to replace it. I am puling hard for something in a mid sized with a diesel or even a hybrid. But I like my room and comfort too much to go back to something as small as most sub compacts. It would be different if they started at less than 9K but if I ever buy one it would be used and as a town driver only.

    My other hope is the idea they are talking about on giving us a summer vacation from federal gas taxes. As it stands now I may be taking fewer vacations than I had planned over the next few months. Still the Grand canyon and Yellow Stone are planned for this year. I just have to make sure we have the cash saved in time to go.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "But I like my room and comfort too much to go back to something as small as most sub compacts."

    The only reason you think that way is because you haven't tried one on lately! :-)

    Oh....and the jury is still out of course, but this may be the new gas reality rather than a gas crisis.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    My other hope is the idea they are talking about on giving us a summer vacation from federal gas taxes.

    At only 18 cents/gallon, either you plan on using a tanker load of gas, or you are able to vacation extremely cheaply!
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,745
    But 18 cents is something. At least it is when it goes up by 18 cents. But my vacations are planned and fuel is taken into account. I would be very depressed if I were frozen into only being able to stay home or commute to work. The gas for us to get to and from Colorado will run about 800 bucks. I will factor in 1000. I agree if I had kids life as we know it would be very hard.

    It seems as if the fuel prices are the least of our problems however. Small cars will not put a dent into what this is doing to our economy. Food is taking up more and more of the average families income. When you hit the trucking industry you hit everyone. And this fuel situation will hit the working person far harder than most realize. As the economy tanks raises become few and far between. The current crop of sub compacts will not help much in that regard.

    I do disagree with my friend Nippon however on the comfort and space issue. Hardly any car magazine would say a Echo or a Yaris is as comfortable as a Camry. No one would say a Civic is as comfortable as a Accord, nor is a Fit. It is a camparitive thing.

    I have seen all of this before. In the 70s were were panicked into sub compacts and were told that we were doing it as a long term goal. It didn't last. We even had a national speed limit of 55 MPH to save gas. Once things stabilized and people adapted we went back to business as usual. I am not all that sure that will not happen again.

    I think the real question is what would we rather drive? Not what do we have to drive. I am not talking about what is the more practical but the most desirable. If you were going to take a 2000 mile road trip and someone else was buying the gas how many people would pick a VW Jetta over a BMW 7 series or a Yaris over a Lexus or a Aveo over a Cadillac? Maybe the better question is what would the average American consumer want to drive under those conditions?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    My other hope is the idea they are talking about on giving us a summer vacation from federal gas taxes.

    Oh man, I think that is an idea so bad only politicians could come up with it. I mean, since our country's infrastructure is in great shape and all of our interstates are perfectly maintained, perhaps you are right, who needs money to maintain roads...if you believe that, there is a bridge I want to sell you- in Minneapolis.

    The fact that some money to fix stuff might be nice, lets hit on that old topic of supply and demand and market pricing. So now that we are paying $X + 0.18 for gas, if the government suddenly repealed that 0.18 cents, do you really for a second thing we would suddenly be paying just X given they know we will pay X+0.18?
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    As a _Driver_ as well as _Enthusiast_ and _Ex Racer_ if I want comfort I will.... sit on the couch....lol.

    When the "average driver" is taken into consideration it's about getting from point A to B, as in being "transported". If the average overweight American wants to "spread out" then yes give em a big Cadillac, Ford, Suburban, Tahoe or other rolling couch on wheels. It suits them fine. I understand that they cannot fit in a small car.

    Me? I want to have fun driving, not just being transported.
    Expensive gas? Yes, it's disgusting, however my passion, hobby and joy, is my car collection that I have worked very hard to assemble. Therefore I'm not about to give up the "gas guzzling F40 Ferrari" which by the way is quite an "uncomfortable, noisy, harsh riding, hard steering beast". Yeah..... and I love every minute of it.

    Funny how it is. I'm 6'3", 190 lbs, and I find my Yaris a good fit, thank you.

    When I'm out zipping around town in my Yaris 2 dr hatchback, I'm super relaxed and having a great time. Why? It's a garden variety car that draws no attention, is fun to drive and I can park it without worry of some jealous idiot scratching it with his keys or banging his door into it. Some people even laugh at how "small it is".

    Fact: my 08, Porsche 911 GT2, has the _SAME interior dimensions_ as my 08, Yaris 2dr hatchback.

    I get mobbed at the gas station, and not a single drooling male says " gosh that's a small car". Nor can I park it without drawing undue attention. In fact having the GT2 is half the reason I bought the Yaris for around town driving. Especially since the Yaris was nearly free.... as compared to the premium price on what is the finest all around sports car of the several high end exotics I have. And people say "small cars" are uncomfortable.... yeah right!

    Perhaps it's just that _I'd rather work out_ at the gym, and go for a _fast ride_ in a great sports car in the mountains, _as opposed_ to sitting in front of the TV _being Comfortable_ on the Couch, Eating Ice Cream.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    We even had a national speed limit of 55 MPH to save gas.

    I still don't get that. Saving gas has nothing to do with a general speed thing. It's all dependent on the car's individual design, and engine gearing. I've discovered that my car is most efficient at about 3200 RPM, which generally is 68 MPH or so on level ground. That's where I get the most miles out of a gallon of fuel. On other cars, the sweet spot is in a different place, and ends up being 60 MPH, or maybe even 70. There's actually quite a range out there.

    But quite a few cars lose efficiency by running at 55 MPH.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    back when the 55 MPH limit was started, maybe car were most efficient at 55 MPH? i hated it.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Perhaps because they used to look like :image

    Instead of like:

    image
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,849
    And believe it or not, the Fairmont/Zephyr were the result of extensive wind-tunnel testing at that time! Ironically, there were also pretty fuel efficient for a car of that size. But that was probably due to the light weight, starting as low as 2500 lb for a stripper model, and the use of mainly tame 2.3 OHC 4-cyl engines or 3.3 6-cyl engines. The 4 only put out around 84 hp and the 6, maybe 88-90. But in comparison a Nova or Volare probably started in at around 3200-3300 lb., and had to rely on stuff like 3.7 slant sixes with around 100 hp or 4.1 straight sixes with maybe 105.

    You could also get a 302 in the Fairmont, in the earlier years at least. It only put out around 130 hp, but in such a light car was probably a better performer than a Nova or Volare with a 150-170 hp 350/360 range engine. And a lot easier on gas.

    It's weird to think that something like that Camry, even in 4-cyl form, probably weighs as much as a V-8 Volare or Nova, yet probably gets better economy in the city than either of them would've gotten on the highway. And would probably out-accelerate any of them, except maybe the police spec models in the better years of the 70's. Shows just how far cars have come.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    My '76 Nova had a 4L I6 (250/6 w/ TH350) and could put the hurt on my friend's earlier Nova with the 2 speed automatic (it had like a 307 or something) and we both got spanked by my friend's Zephyr wagon with the 302. That Zephyr had like 175/70 14s or something like that, they were so skinny they looked ridiculous on that car (the Nova at least had 205/70R14 IIRC).
    The thing I remember most about the Nova was the dealer never got it to idle right, so the idle was set WAY to high. It would go 55-60 without my foot on the gas, that can't have been good for fuel economy.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    Once things stabilized and people adapted we went back to business as usual. I am not all that sure that will not happen again.

    2 major changes since the good old days:
    China
    India.

    Something like half the world's population is either Chinese or Indian and they are all getting ready to buy cars, lawn-mowers, 4-wheelers, airplanes etc etc.
    The reason for the situation in the 70's was OPEC shutting down the supply, that is not the situation any more. The price may continue to move in both directions but the we will not get back to the days when it didn't matter that you got 15 mpg. :(
  • hudsonthedoghudsonthedog Posts: 552
    Removing the gas tax for a few months will do NOTHING to the price of gas. If gas companies can charge $3.50-$3.75 with the tax, what's going to stop them from doing it without the gas tax...especially in the summer months when demand goes up naturally?

    Posting a speed limit of 55mph (or anything slower than the average speed) helps save gas. If you naturally drive at 65mph, you're using more fuel than you would at 55mph as long as you're still in high gear...no matter what car or truck you're driving. The aerodynamic drag on your vehicle increases dramatically with every mph faster you drive.

    And I don't think the interior dimensions of a Porsche 911 GT2 are "the same" as the Yaris since the Yaris has a much larger rear seat, since the GT2 doesn't have one, (and probably a smaller front seat) than the 911...and about 17 cubic feet of more interior space (87 vs 70 cubic feet in the 4-passenger 911).
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    how many Yaris 'S' hatches Toyota would sell if they put just a little more investment into it. I'm talking giving it a factory rear sway (which every other Toyota on the road has, except maybe the base Corolla), slightly lower profile tires, factory cruise, maybe one or two more "upscale" factory options (moonroof? NAV? Leather seats? add keyless to the power package?).

    This thing has been selling like gangbusters, but I'm sure there are those that would spend another $1000 for one that would give Fits and Minis a run for their money in the handling department and have an extra nicety or two. Fully loaded it would still sticker for only $16K or so. And given the strong trend towards smaller cars (and towards cars in general: last month was the first time in 20 years that cars outsold trucks, by 4% no less!), Toyota would do well to expand its lineup among the trims of its smallest model. :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Given the sales success I doubt they are looking hard at what they should change. They may do the opposite and de-content other models to try to copy the Yaris' success.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Well, they already did that with the '09 Corolla, offering a new "standard" grade below even the old CE. If there's one thing Toyota is good at, it's decontenting. They could give classes. ;-)

    But the Yaris has better fuel economy than the Corolla, especially in town, and if as it appears people begin downsizing in sizable numbers from larger cars/trucks that offered more amenities, they will probably want many of the same amenities even in the new smaller car they trade into. And adding a rear sway and cruise to the 'S' is going to add what, $100 per car to Toyota's costs? Lower profile tires would add another $25? They will be able to get $250 more for the resulting car from the customer, no sweat, I would think.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep. I have an 07 Sienna, and when the 08s came out all your heard about was how Bluetooth and VSC were now standard.

    What the press release did not say was that the Tow Prep Package and fog lights were deleted from many models.

    So whatever changes, they offset it somehow.
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